By Cindi Cook
PARIS (AA) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will request political asylum in France, his attorneys announced Friday.
His legal team, comprised of Eric Dupont-Moretti and Antoine Vey, announced through Reporters Without Borders that they are seeking a conversation at the highest level – with President Emmanuel Macron – in an appeal for Assange taking refuge inside the country.
Assange maintains part of the organization he founded in France; his youngest child is a French national and lives in France with his mother.
Assange is currently under arrest in the U.K. and fighting extradition to the U.S. on espionage charges. Before his arrest there last April, he had been living since 2012 at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden after the surfacing of an alleged rape.
He is being held at the high-security Belmarsh prison in London to face the extradition case next week.
His defenders describe Assange a political prisoner and say his case puts the future of journalism itself at stage.
If extradited to the U.S., Assange could face years in prison if convicted on 18 counts of hacking U.S. government computers and espionage.